Devil Rays 5, Tigers 3.
James Shields proved last night that if he wants a W, he just going to have to go out and do it himself. Shields had not won since a May 3rd victory over the Twins. That’s a span of 4 starts including a start in which he threw 9 scoreless innings and another in which he left with a 3-1 lead after 7 innings. It didn’t look like it was going to happen last night after falling behind 3-0 in the first. Shields surrendered 5 hits in the first, and threw 23 pitches. Over the next 8 innings, he allowed only 2 hits and a walk and needed only 82 pitches. He retired 17 of the last 18 batters he faced. According to Baseball Prospectus Shields is now the 6th most valuable pitcher in baseball with a VORP of 24.6.
After taking 2 of 3 from the White Sox, the Devil Rays finally get the Royals after Kansas City was fodder for the rest of the AL East the first two weeks of the season. With the off-day today and a 4-game set, the Rays will be able to throw both Scott Kazmir and Shields in the series. This is a great opportunity to take a step forward and make a run towards the Charlie Hough Line. It is all about winning series and if the Rays want to be taken seriously they must win 3 of 4 against the hapless Royals at the Trop.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Shawn Riggans is going to catch Scott Kazmir on Friday night and is slowly becoming Kid K’s personal catcher. Joe Maddon likes to give his bench regular playing time, but Riggans is a bit of a liability against would be base stealers. If Riggans is going to play 1-2 times per week, it might as well be with a lefty on the mound that can keep runners close.
- Manny Stiles is back…go give him some love.
- Robinson Cano will be the starting second baseman for the AL All-Star team, but the starter should be BJ Upton.
- BJ Upton is currently 4th in voting, and Carl Crawford is 14th in the outfield.
- Carl Crawford has not stolen a base in 2 weeks.
- He is the Devil Rays ace and stopper and yes, he is nasty.